How restaurants can utilize OOH to reach more customers and generate more business?

It is now possible to eat at indoor dining establishments once again in countries such as the United States. People's appetites have once again been stirred by food ads and they have been eagerly awaiting their favorite dishes to be served at their favorite restaurants.

The return to restaurant dining has begun as local and state government restrictions have been lifted, and people nationwide are ready to break free from lockdowns. Quick-service operators will be able to achieve success by leveraging the latest shifts in consumer behavior to stand out from the rest, engage customers, and ultimately drive consumers to their restaurants. Thanks to Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising, you can create an impression that stands out from your normal competition.

What is OOH marketing?

OOH is not a new concept, and we all have witnessed it evolving over the years. Out of home (OOH) is a form of marketing that is found outside the consumer's home. It includes billboards, bus shelters, benches, and everything in between. If you see an ad on a billboard outside your house, you are witnessing OOH marketing.

OOH advertising has its own set of advantages over online digital marketing. Most of the ads online are getting blocked by adblockers, and with many ads shown in a small space, a consumer may not be interested in digital ads or pay attention to them. The OOH advertising is different in this way. They are difficult to avoid and have an impact on consumers due to the contrast to the real-world environment and their size.

Why is OOH important in present times?

The OOH marketing has picked pace in recent months for a reason, especially for the restaurants and food delivery companies. Most of the population has become vaccinated in recent months, and is now living a normal life, resulting in an increase in demand for indoor dining.

As a result, the delivery option that gained so much momentum in the last 12 to 18 months has taken a back seat. To retain customers and to convince them that food delivery at home is still the safest option for them - delivery companies have turned to OOH advertising. As per a recent study, in the New York City market, the delivery service campaign revenue increased by 260% in Q3 2021 compared to Q2 2021.

But why OOH? There is a major reason for the change. According to Harris Poll, 75% of Americans are burned out by continuously watching digital devices, and 55% notice OOH ads more frequently. Not only the food delivery companies but also restaurants have to move to OOH advertising to reach more customers and generate more sales.

How to use OOH advertising to reach more customers?

According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and Nielsen’s 2019 OOH Advertising Study, 25% of American consumers were reported to have visited a restaurant right after seeing an OOH advertisement. OOH ad spending in the U.S. surpassed 8.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. Despite the 2.8 percent decline in 2020 caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. out-of-home advertising market is estimated to witness a positive growth of more than 17% in the year 2021.

So if you are planning to start OOH advertising, now is the right time to do so. To make the most of OOH advertising, you can follow below steps:

Hyper target neighborhoods - Unlike many other traditional media platforms, out-of-home advertisements have the ability to hold the attention of their audience. Digital outdoor advertising is on the rise and OOH is embracing digital, thus turning more heads. Delivery services and restaurants should plan their OOH marketing in such a way that they could hyper-target neighborhoods and thus expand their delivery footprint. The ads should target the local people and have such a personal touch that the consumers can associate with them.

Outdoor advertising units with large, high-impact graphics are perfect for driving awareness about new locations, menu items, and delivery services. Social media buttons and app plug-ins are mostly not relevant for billboard campaigns, but they can be used as part of wallscapes and transit station advertisements in order to attract users as they wait or pass by.

Brief the better - Restaurants need to understand the purpose of OOH - it is different if you compare it with paper ads or other online advertising. They have to be designed to draw the attention of the consumer. They are meant to be seen and not read. The rule of thumb is to create a creative with 6 to 8 words. Even if consumers see the ad for two seconds, they should be able to identify what it is about and what message you are trying to convey through the ad.

A very good example here is McDonald’s. Fast-food chain McDonald's has grown to become one of the most successful in the world because of its marketing strategies and advertising campaigns. In the US, McDonald's golden arches are perhaps the most recognizable advertising campaign, and they really set themselves apart from their competitors.

Be Creative - Just like digital ads, OOH advertising comes with a lot of competition. Only those restaurants that can create bold and relevant ads are going to have an edge. For example, putting an ad that changes with the time of the day can work well. In the morning the ad will talk about the breakfast option the restaurant offers and during the evening the dinner options. The video campaigns have never disappointed the restaurants. Video ads can't be missed because they're so eye-catching. Restaurants can increase website and app traffic through engaging street-level advertising. Diners will be further enticed to make an online order or join a loyalty club as a result.

Go Digital - Most businesses don't like the idea of digital advertising when it comes to OOH advertising. However, it may not be a wise decision. Digital ads are not only less expensive but also attract more eyes as they are fluctuating. Compared to static billboards, they are much more likely to draw the attention of consumers. Another advantage of having a digital ad is that you can change it easily. If something is not working, you can try something new.

For instance: You can put a variety of ads depending on the weather. As a restaurant, you will have different things to offer in different weather. If the temperature has soared, bring ice cream in your ads or a special drink.

Monitor OOH results - Two essential parameters that will help you do well with OOH ads are context and relevance. However, you cannot run an ad campaign for long unless you have the capability to measure the results. If you don't know the ROI, how are you going to decide if you should continue the ad or make changes to your creatives? Certain companies let you measure the outcome of your OOH advertising.

OOH buying platforms today can measure your OOH campaigns' effectiveness by linking exposures to website visits. Through OOH buying platforms, restaurant marketers can measure social media mentions, brand awareness, restaurant foot traffic, and other metrics to measure the effectiveness of their OOH buys.


While many restaurants are shifting towards digital advertisements, OOH holds a stable growth. OOH has high potential and restaurants should evaluate how beneficial it would prove to them. The OOH advertising for restaurants is important, and they definitely should use it to have an edge over the competition.